Book Presentation: Nations Apart. Czech Nationalism and Authoritarian Welfare under Nazi Rule

Room: 2R-EG-07 (lecture hall of the Institute for Eastern European History).
Street address: Spitalgasse 2,  Campus of the University of Vienna, Hof 3.

Discussants: Winson Chu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee/VWI), Jochen Böhler (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies) and Philipp Ther (University of Vienna).

Moderator: Ines Koeltzsch (Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies)

Nations Apart reconsiders the Nazi occupation of Bohemia and Moravia during World War II. The dismemberment of Czechoslovakia after the 1938 Munich Agreement is typically recalled in Czech historical memory as the beginning of a period of humiliation, occupation, and resistance. Against this narrative of victimhood, Šustrová argues that the Nazi Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia witnessed the unexpected expansion of the Czech welfare state, a process driven by local nationalisms and which, in turn, contributed, inadvertently to the stability of Nazi governance. Through extensive research in Czech, German, and Swiss archives, Nations Apart demonstrates that ethnically exclusive Czech national ideology dominated politics and everyday life during Nazi rule. Illustrating similarities between the wartime 'Protectorate' and the occupation regimes in Western Europe, Šustrová sheds new light on occupied societies during WWII and on the ambiguous origins of welfare states in post-war Europe.

Nations Apart is available in open access via the publisher's website.

Radka Šustrová is a lecturer in Social History at Charles University in Prague and an Associated Researcher with RECET. She studied history and political science in Prague and Berlin. Her research focuses on the history of the welfare state, social justice, social and labour rights, women's activism, and nationalism in 20th-century central Europe. From 2020 to 2022, she was a British Academy Newton International Fellow and supervisor in history at the University of Cambridge. In 2022, she was awarded a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship at the University of Vienna. Her further publications include three books, several edited volumes, and articles in English, German, and Czech.